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State of Idaho v. Larry Eugene Morris

January 8, 2013

STATE OF IDAHO,
PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
LARRY EUGENE MORRIS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the District Court of the First Judicial District, State of Idaho, Kootenai County. Hon. Lansing L. Haynes, District Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Lansing, Judge

2013 Unpublished Opinion No. 312

Stephen W. Kenyon, Clerk

THIS IS AN UNPUBLISHED ) OPINION AND SHALL NOT ) BE CITED AS AUTHORITY

Orders denying motions for reduction of sentence, affirmed.

Larry Eugene Morris appeals from two post-judgment orders denying his motions for a reduction of the sentence that was imposed following his conviction for possession of a controlled substance. We affirm.

I.

BACKGROUND

Pursuant to a plea agreement, Morris pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance, Idaho Code § 37-2732(c)(1), and also admitted the State's allegation that he was subject to a sentence enhancement as a persistent violator, I.C. § 19-2514. On November 29, 2010, the district court imposed a unified ten-year sentence including a five-year determinate term. On January 5, 2011, Morris filed a motion under Idaho Criminal Rule 35 in which he asked the court to suspend his sentence and place him on probation. The court declined to place Morris on probation, but reduced his sentence to a fixed term of four years, followed by an indeterminate term of six years. Morris appealed.

On September 1, 2011, while the appeal was pending, Morris filed a motion asking the district court to commute his sentence, suspend the execution of judgment, and place him on probation. The district court concluded that it lacked jurisdiction to commute Morris's sentence, and that even if it had jurisdiction, it would deny the motion because any further reduction of Morris's sentence would depreciate the seriousness of his crime and criminal history.

On appeal, Morris challenges both the partial denial of his Rule 35 motion, and the denial of his subsequent motion to commute and suspend his sentence.

II. ANALYSIS

We first address Morris's argument that the district court abused its discretion when it partially granted his initial Rule 35 motion by reducing the fixed term of his sentence from five years to four years, but did not further reduce his sentence by placing him on probation.

A motion for reduction of sentence under Rule 35 is essentially a plea for leniency, addressed to the sound discretion of the court. State v. Knighton, 143 Idaho 318, 319, 144 P.3d 23, 24 (2006); State v. Hanson, 150 Idaho 729, 734, 249 P.3d 1184, 1189 (Ct. App. 2011). In presenting a Rule 35 motion, the defendant must show that the sentence is excessive in light of new or additional information subsequently provided to the district court in support of the motion. State v. Huffman, 144 Idaho 201, 203, 159 P.3d 838, 840 (2007). In conducting our review of the grant or denial of a Rule 35 motion, we consider the entire record and apply the same criteria used for determining the reasonableness of the original sentence. State v. Gill, 150 Idaho 183, 186, 244 P.3d 1269, 1272 (Ct. App. 2010). Since the district court later modified Morris's sentence, pursuant to his Rule 35 motion, we will review only the modified sentence for an abuse of discretion. Hanson, 150 Idaho at 734, 249 P.3d at ...


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